23 January 2015 2 Comments
Author: George Orwell
Summary: The animals on a farm drive out their master and take over and administer the farm for themselves. The experiment is entirely successful, except for the fact that someone has to take the deposed farmer’s place. Leadership devolves almost automatically upon the pigs, who are on a higher intellectual level than the rest of the animals. Unhappily their character is not equal to their intelligence, and out of this fact springs the main development of the story. The last chapter brings a dramatic change, which, as soon as it has happened, is seen to have been inevitable from the start.
Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5
Review: This was one of those books i always figured i’d get around to reading eventually, but never consciously made the effort to. For whatever reason, one day, i saw it in a charity shop and i bought it. Then, after the monster that was the last book i read, i thought a little 120 page book that i was almost guaranteed to love would be an excellent chaser. It was.
I’m not really sure how to review this book, though. Written as an allegory of the Soviet Union, it can, and does, also provide insight into politics and class and society in general, that is still (and will always be) relevant today. It is written in a very simply language, which makes it hard to misinterpret. I can’t do a better job than Orwell does himself at explaining what this book is about. It’s a bloody masterpiece, really.
The pigs are nasty, selfish, lying sods who abuse the other animals. The other animals are short-sighted, naive, simpletons who don’t even realise they’re being abused. I feel immense pity for the lot of them, really. There was pretty much only one character i really liked. Old Benjamin is truly my spirit animal. Getting on with life, taking it as it comes, seeing it all, but knowing real change is an impossibility. Cynical to the core, Old Benjamin has already made it on to my short list of best characters ever.
It’s so short, you could read this book inside of an hour, if you wanted, and i strongly recommend you do. This is definitely one of those books i would recommend to everyone. Though, it would seem the high majority of people who dislike the book, are those that were forced to read it at school, which is a terrible pity.
For such a simply, short book, it made me think, pull grim faces in acknowledgement of awful truths and nod sagely along with Old Benjamin.
This is the eight book i’ve read from my Classics Club list.
This knocks three squares off my Bookish Bingo: A modern classic, a banned book and non-human characters.